Snoop Dogg, “Bible of Love”

Snoop Dogg
Bible of Love
RCA INSPIRATION
6/10

By this time and place in recent Dogg Pound memory, we get that Snoop—the one-time Crip and hero to weed aficionados everywhere—can host game shows and hang with home décor maven Martha Stewart. And while he’s a family man who has had a hand in coaching his son’s football team, audiences on the “Gin & Juice” tip never really saw evidence of Snoop’s religious affiliations, other than his making an appearance at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day, where he exalted minister Louis Farrakhan. So a new gospel album—a thirty-two track double LP, in fact—from Tha Doggfather seems odd in terms of his spirituality, but it’s also so very at one with an unpredictable catalog that includes films such as Soul Plane and reggae records under a different name.

If you love Snoop’s slippery honey-and-rubber flow and sing-song patois, you’re in luck: holy rolling hasn’t slowed him. On “Words Are Few,” the juicy-fluid rapper intones, “I know God is calling me, I’m not where I’m supposed to be” with doleful dedication and righteous indignation. But if you’re hoping that he imbues every track with such fire and brimstone, you’ll be disappointed; in many cases, Snoop’s spiritual involvement is minimal—maybe a metaphorical “Hallelujah” here and there.

In his place, however, are the genuine greatest names and sounds of modern day gospel: the jittery Jersey minister Tye Tribbett, the sinewy Kim Burrell, the heavenly harmonious likes of Clark Sisters and Mary Mary, and the booming, grooving Marvin Sapp and Fred Hammond. Their presence brands Dogg’s bible as a worthwhile, literally–soul-sonic enterprise, as does church organ great Uncle Chucc, who turns “Love for God” into a riveting musical reverie. The inclusion of other hip hop figures (Jazze Pha) and R&B vocal greats (Charlie Wilson and Patti LaBelle) doing symphonies to God with Snoop in robes of many colors also speaks volumes as to where this project sits. Bible of Love ain’t Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, and Lord knows it isn’t supposed to be. Amen. 

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